View Full Version : Length of core thread? help?
07-04-2011, 08:16 PM
I have been holding off asking this question because the answer seems like it should be something obvious I am missing. I started tatting with the Handy Hands book, and in it, all the patterns start out by saying "start with X inches/yds" of thread. After going on to another pattern I thought I was just a fluke that this wasn't mentioned, but I have been experimenting with other things long enough to know that most of the time the length to start with is not mentioned. So how do you figure this out? Is there some kind of formula? This problems has 2 projects on hold because I am running out of the core thread. I know it shouldn't be a huge problem, I suppose I could just guess at the amount of ball thread needed, cut, and cut another long piece,... tie to core and hide a bunch of ends??? I don't know, it sounds like a pain, and for the one project I am highly short. This is also why I always try to pick patterns working off of the ball. It seems like there would be some sort of way to figure out how much to start with, considering I am paranoid about running out now, and I have lots of waste because I start working with 4 yds of thread for whatever! :0) It doesn't matter so much now about waste, I am using all 2 bucks for a ball of 300 yds, but someday soon I might want to try something special. And when I spend 15$ on ten yardsof some awesome pretty thread, I really wouldn't want to waste it. Or my time taking it apart. Thanks for any advice!
07-04-2011, 08:47 PM
The length of core thread is up to you-it depends on how comfortable you are with pulling it through without tangling. You may have to add thread later but even shuttle tatters sometimes have to add thread. Use what you are comfortable with. When I first started I used 2 yards now I use 5 yards. As you become more comfortable with your thread you will use more. I do wind off onto a card about 10 yards before I start so I have threads to add without cutting the ball thread so I can start CTM and not have to hide as many ends later.
If it is special thread take some that is the same size and do a practice ring and chain and then pull them out and measure how much it took. Then you will have some idea of how much you will need for a core thread.
07-04-2011, 10:17 PM
I probably wouldn't do it with a special thread or something hand dyed that I'd spent *alot* of money on, but normally I just pull off more than I think I'll need. I'd rather have too much as have to add thread with one ring or chain left. And if I have extra, I just use it to make little butterflies or flowers or something small to put in the "this & thats" bag to give away. =-) That's one of the things i Love about tatting - with 3 inches of thread, you can make something cute!
Here's what I do. Make a sample ring from the pattern. FOR EACH ROUND, compare the sample ring to the size of one of your fingers. [If its much, much, smaller than any of them, skip to the next par. ] Now, wind the thread around that finger once for each ring of that size in your pattern FOR THAT ROUND AND ANY YOU'LL JUMP TO. If there are larger rings, do about 1 1/2 windings for each larger ring, and 1/2 to 3/4 for smaller rings. Now count the chains. Does the stitch count match the sample ring count? If so keep wrapping, once for each chain. If the chains are really short, maybe 1/2 turn for each, and more if they're larger. Next, I add a length just for the length of the needle, then, I add about about 30 cm or 1 ft. for the knots, and then if its big, another 15-18 inches /40+ cm just in case I screwed up my count and some of those rings and chains were bigger than I thought. Now, take a look at how long it is. If you know the thread and know how it does/doesn't tangle, can you handle all of it? IF so, keep going. Were you planning on making any rings using the needle thread only? If so, you need to add that length also onto your needle. On your needle, repeat the sample, putting the stitches on the needle, leaving them for a bit and then sliding them off the point. The thread will be wrinkley but you can stretch it out and see how much it took for one. Can you still handle it if you add that much more for each true ring? Usually not. Run it to the most you're comfortable with, knowing that you'll have to add thread. Plan for it. Leave magic threads to help hide ends. Do you like adding threads at the ends of chains or rings? Most people choose rings. If after tatting half of the round, it looks like you have more core than you need, you can do one or more of the rings as a true ring and avoid "waste".
If your sample ring is much smaller than any of your fingers, you can use a pencil, or toothbrush handle or whatever to match the size. May not need to bother unless you're doing an edging where you don't really know how far you want to go. Its always better to have too much than too little. Short core means an unconscious desire to save the core thread and tug the rings tighter and your even tension will be lost. Needle tatters probably do less jumping to the next round because by the time you jump you have so much thread on the needle that you waste time untangling. If you jump with only a short core left, you've replaced one set of ends after a round with a set of ends in the middle of a round. Not much time saving there.
The method I described will work for two color tatting, and for floating rings where you have two needles.
One last thing. Spend some time practicing adding thread some more. Add after rings, add after chains, add in the middle of clovers. Practice until its only a minor annoyance to add core thread. The best suggestion was in the previous post. Before you start, wind off some onto a card or spool so you don't have to cut the ball to get more core thread.... or buy a second ball of the same color if you're feeling affluent.
...I am using all 2 bucks for a ball of 300 yds, but someday soon I might want to try something special. And when I spend 15$ on ten yards of some awesome pretty thread, I really wouldn't want to waste it. Or my time taking it apart.
Its only thread. Your time is worth more than $15/hour. Your time is the most valuable resource that goes into your tatting... your thought, your care, your attention to detail, your choice of pattern. That's more value than any ball of thread. So don't scrimp and save unless it irreplaceble heirloom stuff (which may have rotted and is unsuitable anyway).:heart:
08-04-2011, 11:13 AM
You can see an easy way to add new thread here (http://www.intatters.com/album.php?albumid=503) in my albums.
30-04-2011, 07:39 PM
Once again, thank you all so much for the answers. Cutting off and carding sectionsw sounds like something to try, and I do need to go check out tips on less ends,... as I just STARTE#D trying to hide ends for the first time ever, and it just seems like a bunch of trouble. I like all the "fun" of tatting, but doing things like hiding ends just seems like a big chore!
I second that about the time, Judy. I just think that if I wasted a bunch of time and screwed up badly on some kind of really neat thread, I would probably be so disappoiuted in myself that I'd never try anything 'specialty' again.
Tonight I'm going to get out some of my WIPs and sit down with this post and make sense of it all. Thanks so much for the replies.